Note from Niles: I know this blog is about Soulfulness and Sobriety, but my own recovery story (and life story) includes being enamored with and trying to follow the example of Jesus of Nazareth. So, if historical Christian terms are not your thing or bother you, I suggest you stop reading; if they do not, then read on. This is taken from a previously written blog on Easter that I have re-written and revisioned from the standpoint of Recovery and Resurrection.
Happy Resurrection Day (as I like to call Easter Sunday).
A few years ago, on what liturgical churches call Holy Saturday, I attended ‘Easter Vigil’ services at the Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, Virginia. Never having attended Lenten services at a monastery, I was not sure what the experience would bring. My initial thoughts were that I felt I had stepped back in time, in a wonderful way: the historical richness and the ever-present reality providing sacred collusion. The pews were hard, thick dark wood made by local friends, there was darkness, candles, prayers, chanting and singing in Latin and English, kneeling, bowing, and of course, the Eucharist. It a delightful, albeit long, experience – over two hours.
What I have learned in my life of studying and even knowing a few, Catholic monks do almost nothing quickly.
And in this world of immediate gratification, I was afforded the ‘time’ to slow down, breathe, and attune my being to God’s all-pervading and loving Presence permeating the place.
All this pausing got me to thinking about the reality of Easter; about resurrection and the relationship between the concept of “Resurrection” to recovery from addiction in general and my recovery specifically.
To many people of faith, the shadowy, yet hopeful day in between – in between the crucifixion of Friday and the empty tomb of Sunday – reminded me that for people in recovery (as with people of faith) we are truly a people on the Way…in transition and on a journey.
Like believers who live between the tension of the crucifixion and the resurrection, people in recovery are those who must live between two tensions as well: that of being an addict (bound in some ways to the past and our pain) and that of being people in recovery (set free from the bondage of active addiction to live lives of love and service).
People who believe, are often called a “Good Friday People”; all we need to do is look around at all the pain and suffering in our world and in our hearts. Those of us who have been bound by the chains of addiction, death and despair are too in some ways a “Good Friday People” – we have crucified and been crucified repeatedly.
But the glorious news for believers is also glorious news for addicts and alcoholics: death does not have to have the final say.
There is hope; there is another way; there is a different ending to the story of addiction.